One quick thought on Brexit amongst many written today. It concerns the significant impact it will likely have on the price of international voice calls.

All through the EU the price that mobile network operators (MNOs) can charge one another for terminating calls made to their own customers (called the “mobile termination rate” or MTR) is regulated on the basis of cost. A number of telecoms regulators (eg the French regulator ARCEP here, but not OFCOM in the UK) have made decisions specifically exempting calls originating from outside the EEA from the regulated price. This means, for example, that Swiss MNOs much pay a much greater wholesale price for calls to French mobile customers than UK MNOs do.

It’s a very odd situation where it applies – i see no basis in logic to allow this difference and it seems to be an attempt by the regulators concerned to exercise trade policy (discriminating against non-EEA operators over EEA ones for an identical service) rather than having anything at all to do with their proper legal function of ensuring the smooth functioning of telecoms markets and the promotion of competition.

Unless these decisions are challenged or overturned (and i hope they will be) if the UK now leaves the EU and does not join the EEA (which would be a similar position to Switzerland – a possible, even likely, outcome) then UK operators will no longer be able to benefit from regulated MTRs when their customers call other countries and the price – at least of mobile voice calls – is likely to rise as a result.